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Sędzielewska Toro, Kinga and Brachmann, Andreas ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7980-8173 (2016): The effector candidate repertoire of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Rhizophagus clarus. In: BMC Genomics 17:101 [PDF, 891kB]


Background: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form an ecologically important symbiosis with more than two thirds of studied land plants. Recent studies of plant-pathogen interactions showed that effector proteins play a key role in host colonization by controlling the plant immune system. We hypothesise that also for symbiotic-plant interactions the secreted effectome of the fungus is a major component of communication and the conservation level of effector proteins between AMF species may be indicative whether they play a fundamental role.

Results: In this study, we used a bioinformatics pipeline to predict and compare the effector candidate repertoire of the two AMF species, Rhizophagus irregularis and Rhizophagus clarus. Our in silico pipeline revealed a list of 220 R. irregularis candidate effector genes that create a valuable information source to elucidate the mechanism of plant infection and colonization by fungi during AMF symbiotic interaction. While most of the candidate effectors show no homologies to known domains or proteins, the candidates with homologies point to potential roles in signal transduction, cell wall modification or transcription regulation. A remarkable aspect of our work is presence of a large portion of the effector proteins involved in symbiosis, which are not unique to each fungi or plant species, but shared along the Glomeromycota phylum. For 95 % of R. irregularis candidates we found homologs in a R. clarus genome draft generated by Illumina high-throughput sequencing. Interestingly, 9 % of the predicted effectors are at least as conserved between the two Rhizophagus species as proteins with housekeeping functions (similarity > 90 %). Therefore, we state that this group of highly conserved effector proteins between AMF species may play a fundamental role during fungus-plant interaction.

Conclusions: We hypothesise that in symbiotic interactions the secreted effectome of the fungus might be an important component of communication. Identification and functional characterization of the primary AMF effectors that regulate symbiotic development will help in understanding the mechanisms of fungus-plant interaction.

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